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There are few things more Southern than NASCAR racing and football, and on Sept. 11 the two will meet at Richmond International Raceway.

To herald the start of the NFL season the following day, drivers John Andretti and Kyle Petty will use NFL paint schemes on their cars and designs on their suits and helmets during the NASCAR Select Batteries 400.

Joining the cross-promotion effort will be several former NFL stars.

Ex-Chicago Bears linebacker Dick Butkus will help the Petty pit crew, along with former Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Willie Lanier, and one-time Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end L.C. Greenwood.

Former Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett, retired Washington Redskins wide receiver Charley Taylor and ex-Indianapolis running back Craig "Ironhead" Heyward, will assist the Andretti pit.

Players Inc., the marketing arm of current and former NFL players, will donate $500,000 to charities nominated by Petty and Andretti if they finish in first and second place.

NASCAR gets back TV rights

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- NASCAR said it regained television rights for races starting in 2001 from six U.S. networks that show its Winston Cup and Busch Series events.

The agreement by the three broadcast networks, CBS, ABC and NBC, along with cable channels ESPN, TBS and TNN to relinquish their rights will allow stock car racing's governing body to begin work on a consolidated contract with one or two television networks.

That move is aimed at increasing rights fees for NASCAR and the tracks that host the sport's races. Those talks will begin this fall, NASCAR said.

Schumacher delays return

MONZA, Italy -- Michael Schumacher said he'll probably miss at least the next two races on the Formula One Grand Prix circuit because he's in too much pain from the broken leg he suffered in July's British Grand Prix to compete.

The 30-year-old Ferrari driver made the decision after his second practice drive since the crash and canceled plans to continue testing with his Ferrari team at Monza. He had planned to return for the Sept. 12 Italian Grand Prix on the same track.

He said he was still in pain and gave no indication when he would race again, though he said he's likely to miss the Sept. 26 European Grand Prix.

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